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Russia’s delight at fall of ‘stupid clown’ Boris Johnson

‘The moral of the story is: do not seek to destroy Russia,’ says one official

David Harding
Thursday 07 July 2022 12:42 BST
Boris Johnson and Volodymyr Zelensky lighting candles at the St. Mikhailovsky Cathedral in Kyiv last month
Boris Johnson and Volodymyr Zelensky lighting candles at the St. Mikhailovsky Cathedral in Kyiv last month (EPA)

Russian officials reacted with glee at the fall of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who resigned on Thursday.

Following an extraordinary 24 hours in British politics, when the scandal-ridden PM faced more than 40 ministerial resignations from his government and widespread calls to end his premiership, the joy in Moscow at Mr Johnson’s demise was unchecked.

Mr Johnson told Britain, in an address outside 10 Downing Street, that it was “clearly the will of the Conservative Party that there should be a new leader” and that no one was “indispensable” in politics.

His downfall was a cause of celebration in Russia.

One leading tycoon called the British leader a “stupid clown” who was getting his just reward for arming Ukraine against Russia.

Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska said on Telegram that it was an “inglorious end” for a “stupid clown” whose conscience would be blighted by “tens of thousands of lives in this senseless conflict in Ukraine”.

Relations between Moscow and London are at a low, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine which exacerbated long-running grievances between the two countries. Mr Johnson has been a steadfast supporter of Ukraine and has visited Kyiv twice during the war.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, “he doesn’t like us, we don’t like him either,” but his resignation as prime minister was of little concern for the Kremlin.

He also called on the UK to appoint “more professional people” in its next government.

Maria Zakharova, the top spokeswoman in Russia’s foreign ministry, said Johnson’s fall was a symptom of the decline of the West, which she said was riven by political, ideological and economic crisis.

“The moral of the story is: do not seek to destroy Russia,” Zakharova said. “Russia cannot be destroyed. You can break your teeth on it - and then choke on them.”

Even before President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine, Johnson had repeatedly criticised Putin - casting him as a ruthless and possibly irrational Kremlin chief who was imperiling the world with his crazy ambitions - but the Conservative party under his leadership has been criticised for taking money from Russian oligarchs.

After the invasion, Johnson made Britain one of the biggest Western supporters of Ukraine, sending weapons, slapping some of the most severe sanctions in modern history on Russia and urging Ukraine to defeat Russia’s vast armed forces.

Russia repeatedly dismissed him as a poorly prepared jester trying to punch far beyond Britain’s true weight.

Zakharova gleefully portrayed him as the author of his own downfall.

“Boris Johnson was hit by a boomerang launched by himself,” she said. “His comrades-in-arms turned him in.”

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